The Edmonds School District (ESD) will hold an election Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, for a ballot measure to raise a Replacement School Programs and Operations Levy. The levy would directly fund classrooms across the district and support programs for ESD students. It will carry the title of “Proposition No. 1” on the February ballot. This levy is not an additional levy and will only serve to replace the current local levy which will expire at the end of 2018.
ESD School Board member Gary Noble clarified the purpose of the replacement levy, asserting it was not a way for the ESD to gain further revenue.
“This measure is not additional funding, it is what we need in order to continue to operate each day,” Noble said. “It directly supports the learning and teaching in each classroom across our District in Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and unincorporated portions of south Snohomish County.”
The replacement levy will go toward funding additional teachers in an attempt to decrease class sizes, safety and security personnel for each school, paraeducators and other supporting staff. In addition to these staff increases, the levy also funds updated textbooks and other instructional materials, transportation for students, student clubs and activities, services for special needs students, technology support and further staff training to improve educational quality.
ESD School Board member Diana White believes the revenue from the local levy is essential to the district’s educational success and hopes the community will be supportive as they have been in the past.
“Our communities across the District are very supportive of its schools,” White said. “The funding from this measure will allow us to continue our work in each school.”
This local levy funds additional programs which cannot be funded by the state. According to the ESD, the replacement levy must be approved and renewed by voters if they would like school programs and services to continue at their present level.
Tax rates will decrease, not increase, from their current levels with the approval of this levy in February. The proposed levy rate is $1.50 per thousand of assessed property value, which is an 85 cent decrease from the current $2.35 per thousand of assessed property value.
The decrease is due to a July 2017 decision from the state legislature which increases school funding throughout the state. This further state funding comes from an increase in statewide property taxes, which limits the amount school districts can raise from local property tax levies. Thus, the ESD was required to lower its property tax levy to meet the new state standards.
The ESD Board of Directors decided to place the measure for the replacement levy on the ballot with Resolution 17-62, which authorized the district to replace the expiring levy for support of the District General Fund. The replacement levy will be authorized from 2019 to 2022 and is expected to bring in $62.75 million each year for each of the four years the voters approve it.
“The locally-funded levy is our second largest revenue source and remains critical to our success in supporting all students learning,” Superintendent Kris McDuffy said.
Property tax exemptions do apply for qualifying senior citizens and disabled persons covered for property tax exemptions by the Washington state tax code. Information about who applies for these tax exemptions is available from the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office.
Further information is available by contacting Chris Hansen in the Superintendent’s Office or Debbie Joyce Jakala in the office of Communications and Public Relations.